Dog Theft: What are the statistics?
According to a study by the Kennel Club, 196 dogs are stolen every month in the UK. This is an absolutely staggering figure, especially when you consider that only two percent of the cases reported to police are ever solved.
Why has dog theft become so common?
There is no one reason for rises in things like dog theft, like any rise in crime, this is predominantly a result of a rise in poverty and unemployment. Theft of any kind in the UK is most likely opportunistic, and operated by individuals. However some types of crime, like pet theft and burglaries will be operated by syndicates and gangs.
As all of us will have noticed, there was a massive increase in the amount of puppies adopted or bought during lock-down. Brits found themselves in positions where their life-long dream to have a dog was possible due to working from home.
Prices for pedigree puppies soared through the roof as the parks became heaving with fresh paws and fluffy faces.
This has, however, had the adverse affect of more dog thefts, as thieves are aware of the demand in the market and, and the abundance of dogs around.
In 2020, no suspect was identified in more than half (54 per cent) of reported dog theft cases and three per cent of cases were dismissed as not being in the public interest. In more than a quarter (27 per cent), a suspect was identified but nothing further was done due to ‘evidential difficulties’.
The Kennel Club
What is the government doing to help?
Up until a few months ago, dog thefts were put in the same category as property theft. Can you believe that? Dogs as objects! Well, thankfully this has recently changed. Dogs will now be considered as the sentient beings they are (and should always have been) under British law.
In May the government introduced into Parliament the Animal Welfare (Sentience) Bill which, if passed in its current form, explicitly recognises in UK law that animals as sentient beings. The bill also makes provision for an Animal Sentience Committee, which is able to issue reports on how government policy has paid due regard to the welfare of animals as sentient beings.
So what can we do to reduce the risk?
There are a number of things that we as dog owners can do to try reduce the risk of dog theft. Head to our blog post dedicated to this to find out more.